Alabama issues harsh penalties for people who are convicted of drug crimes. Even possessing small amounts of a controlled substance can have lasting consequences if you don’t take the proper measures to protect your rights.
Even though the state has begun to take a less punishment-only approach to drug crimes by favoring more rehabilitation, not everyone qualifies. Those who do qualify for certain programs sometimes find that they are not right for their circumstances or there was a grave injustice with their case.
If you’ve been charged with a narcotics-related crime in Alabama, knowledge is power. Not only should you understand the gravity of your situation but also the necessity for a strong defense. Depending on the type and amount of drug, you could be charged with drug possession as well as distribution, both of which carry stiff penalties if you are convicted.
Alabama’s Controlled Substances Laws
Just like federal rules and other U.S. states, Alabama has laws that divide dangerous substances into a schedule with several classes. These five classes of drugs are scheduled according to the capacity for dependency, potential for abuse, and any accepted medical uses:
- Schedule Iincludes LSD, heroin, and marijuana. These are drugs considered to have a high potential for abuse and that have no medical use.
- Schedule IIincludes methadone, cocaine, and opium. These drugs have limited medical use and a high potential for abuse.
- Schedule IIIincludes amphetamines and lysergic acid. These are substances with an accepted medical use but the potential for high dependence.
- Schedule IVincludes barbital. These drugs have accepted medical use and a low potential for abuse.
- Schedule Vincludes drugs with codeine and other over the counter substances. These are substances with an accepted medical use and the lowest potential for abuse or dependence.
Possession of Drugs in Alabama
The simplest type of drug crime in Alabama in possession. This means that you have been charged with having drugs either on your person or your property (such as your home or car). Even the possession of drug paraphernalia, such as syringes, bongs, glass tubes, and pipes, is considered a crime in Alabama.
While Alabama law divides drugs into schedules, most drug charges will only differentiate between the possession of marijuana and any other controlled substance. There are also penalties for possessing prescription drugs for which you don’t have a valid prescription as well as some unscheduled synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice.
Unless the charge is for a simple first-time marijuana possession, most drug possession charges in Alabama are felonies. The penalties for one of these charges can be incredibly stiff, even for a first-time offender. They include fines of up to $15,000, up to 10 years in prison, and possible forfeiture of assets. A marijuana possession charge, even though it is a misdemeanor, can still carry a penalty of up to three months in jail.
What is Considered Distribution in Alabama?
Alabama passed a new law in 2012 stating that anyone possessing between 8 and 28 grams of certain controlled substances is also assumed to have them for sale. A distribution charge can be serious. This can be a Class B felony charge that extends your sentence and fines significantly if you are convicted.
A Class B felony in Alabama carries the potential of fines up to $30,000, and up to 20 years in prison. These penalties can be enhanced if you were found to have distributed drugs to a minor, distributed drugs near a playground or school, or involved a minor in the distribution of drugs.
Speak with a Qualified Mobile Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing drug charges in Mobile County, a conviction can have lasting direct and indirect consequences. Not only will you face fines and possible jail time, but a conviction will stay with you for the rest of your life, impacting your ability to get employment, admission to college, a place to live, and even a loan.
For these reasons, it is vital that you speak with an experienced drug crimes defense attorney about your situation. At Darley Law, LLC, we will thoroughly review your case and help you understand your options. There may be an opportunity to get your charges reduced or your case dismissed, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Contact our Mobile office now at (251) 441-7772 to schedule an initial consultation, or you may send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.